Even if you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of months you’ve probably at least heard someone walking by proclaim, “mans not hot” regardless of the weather. The originator of “mans not hot,” a phrase that has quickly spun off to become a meme and take on a life of its own, is none other than Michael Dapaah’s alter ego Big Shaq.
As famous as Big Shaq and his “mans not hot” mantra have become, a lot of questions still linger as to where exactly he came from, who the comedian behind the fictional grime MC is and what on earth “mans not hot” even means. All this and maybe a little more is explored below in this definitive guide to Big Shaq.
What does “mans not hot” mean?
Genius tried to get Big Shaq to explain what his phrase means on his recent trip to the US but all his sit-down with the site did was increase the mystery around his lyrics. In the video below Big Shaq goes off on a tangent about never taking his jacket off because he literally cannot get hot – even if he’s next to the sun.
Whenever he’s asked about what the line means Big Shaq deflects, saying he won’t take his jacket off for anyone or anything, so fans are forced to take the line in its most literal sense – that Big Shaq’s body does not heat up.
But delve a little deeper and it soon becomes apparent that the line has more to do with Big Shaq’s status as a “roadman” than it does with perspiration tings. Roadmen in the UK are known for wearing baggy clothing and puffer jackets regardless of the weather, as the puffiness of the jacket is used as a form of protection from knife attacks.
So, in claiming “mans not hot,” Big Shaq is keeping himself protected by coming up with an excuse to wear his puffer jacket. It’s a necessary excuse for a roadman to stay alive in the face of constant danger.
Who is Big Shaq?
If you’ve read this far thinking Big Shaq is the real deal – I hate to burst your bubble. Big Shaq is the genius fictional grime MC dreamt up by British comedian Michael Dapaah. To understand Big Shaq, one must first understand Michael Dapaah.
Michael Dapaah is best known for his YouTube mockumentary SWIL (Somewhere In London), which follows four characters on their journeys to success. One of those characters? You guessed it, Big Shaq.
Like most things in life, Dapaah’s characters weren't created equal allowing Big Shaq to surpass his peers en route to becoming the comedian’s most popular alter ego and a super start in his own right.
Big Shaq is a character first and foremost, but he’s also a roadman that goes by the aliases MC Quakes and Roadman Shaq. He got his big break on BBC 1Xtra’s Fire in the Booth where Dapaah, as Big Shaq, unleashed his now infamous freestyle on poor host Charlie Sloth featuring lines like, “The girl told me, ‘take of your jacket’ / I said, ‘Babes, mans not hot.’” The rest, as they say, is history.
Dapaah’s freestyle spawned the “The ting goes” and “mans not hot” memes and resulted in Big Shaq recording a studio version of “Mans Not Hot,” which made its way onto a host of streaming services. The music video, which released recently, features Lil Yachty and DJ Khaled among other celebrities.
So really, Big Shaq has evolved from a character in a YouTube mockumentary, to a meme to a comedian’s character with an actual, world-renowned song.
Who is on team Big Shaq?
It truly is Big Shaq’s world and we’re all just living in it. His rise to fame has seen all sorts of celebrities clamor to associate themselves with the grime MC.
Highlights include several European soccer players, The Breakfast Club, DJ Khaled and real grime MC Stormzy. But perhaps most curios of all is the support Big Shaq has gotten from protestors in Zimbabwe, which you can check out below.
Who has he beefed with?
When your star rises there will always be people who want to tear your down and so it comes as no surprise that Big Shaq has already beefed with none other than former Laker, Shaquille O’Neal.
It’s unclear when exactly the beef started but it may have something to do with the fact that, when appearing as a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Shaq walked in to “Mans Not Hot.” His reaction says it all and spawned a diss track aimed at Big Shaq featuring ShaqIsDope (confusing, I know).
Listen to the diss track below.
What’s next for Big Shaq?
So far, not much is known about what Michael Dapaah has planned for Big Shaq. Season 1 of SWIL ended in July and it’s likely that we could see a second season sometime in the future. Just as likely though, is the possibility of seeing a spin-off series that focuses solely on Big Shaq and his “life” after his rise to fame.
It all depends on how much Dapaah wants Big Shaq to dominate his other alter egos and if the comedian wants to become synonymous with one of his characters.
Big Shaq’s music career will likely be limited as there are only so many satirical songs people will listen to before it gets old. No one is going to listen to a 13 song album if the content isn’t serious. While it could work – a good example is Weird Al Yankovic – a better option would be to stick to making videos and appearing in shows.
For more of our music guides, find out what "Bodak Yellow" means and what's next for Cardi B right here.